First Friday in Missoula: Art openings to see in January

  • 5 min to read

This month, First Friday falls so close to New Year's Eve that many galleries or other organizations opt out entirely. If you're in town, though, there are things to see. Who knows? It might be more enjoyable if crowds aren't at full capacity.

MAM Auction 01

The Missoula Art Museum will host a silent auction online for portions of this year's Benefit Art Auction beginning Friday. The MAM hopes to "open the bidding to the world, to bidders anywhere," said Laura Millin, the MAM's executive director.

Benefit Art Auction exhibition

(Missoula Art Museum)

The MAM is opening up its annual fundraising show. With 70 pieces, including painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics and mixed media (even a functioning radio), there's something for most any taste.

The exhibition opens on First Friday with some silent auction items available for online bidding right out of the gate. (See the full preview.)

Missoula Art Museum's auction goes online for some work

Elsewhere in the MAM, you can see other strong exhibitions such as a retrospective on the late Rick Bartow, a photography collaboration, "Perception," by Ellen Garvens and Barbara Weissberger, and Lillian Pitt's "Honoring My Ancestors," a multi-faceted exploration of her Indigenous heritage.

Marsupial Pudding

Clyde Coffee is hosting an employee art show. Above is a piece by Marsupial Pudding.

Clyde Coffee's employee art show

The Hip Strip coffeeshop is keeping alive the time-honored college town tradition of providing income for artists. They have enough, in fact, for a full-on employee art show. Check out the work, listed in media such as felt/fabric, marker drawings, digital art, and paintings, created by Elizabeth Tallion, Stella Nall, Grace Kari (aka Grass Draws Carrots), and Marsupial Pudding.

The opening runs from 5-7 p.m. at 610 S. Higgins Ave.

Robert Schlegel

The Dana Gallery will be showing new works by Deborah Harrington, Jeff Walker and Robert Schlegel. Above is his “House with Barn."

Dana Gallery's winter show

The longest-running gallery in Missoula will be open, with new pieces by Robert Schlegel — loose and playful country scenes that contrast with typically tightly rendered canvases — plus work by Deborah Harrington and Jeff Walker.

The gallery, located at 246 N. Higgins, will host its reception from 5-8 p.m.

Laura Blue Palmer

Missoula painter Laura Blue Palmer and her 9-year-old son Jesse Lewis Sawaya are showing work together in "Underwater: Past and Present" at the new Zootown Arts Community Center gallery for Second Friday.

Jesse Lewis Sawaya

Missoula painter Laura Blue Palmer and her 9-year-old son Jesse Lewis Sawaya are showing work together at the new Zootown Arts Community Center gallery for Second Friday.

Second Friday at the ZACC

(Zootown Arts Community Center)

Laura Blue Palmer, an established artist known for her interpretations of the night sky and Montana mountains and lakes, teamed up with her 9-year-old son, Jesse Lewis Sawaya, on an aquatically themed show, "Underwater: Past & Present," with renderings of sea life. They're taking over the main gallery in the new ZACC space. Over in the youth gallery, Ila Bell is sharing paintings, primarily of urban landscapes.

The reception runs from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10, at 216 W. Main St.

Continuing exhibitions

A few notable shows from December are up again this month, too.

Flogging Molly

William Munoz is showing photographs from Missoula concerts at 4 Ravens Gallery. Above: Flogging Molly at the KettleHouse Amphitheater.

William Munoz's concert photographs

(4 Ravens Gallery)

Munoz, a longtime photographer with a portfolio of landscapes and dance pictures, dove full force into concert shoots about five years ago. Over at 4 Ravens, he's picked around 25 of his favorites during that run, many of which were at the Top Hat, the Wilma, the KettleHouse Amphitheater, the Big Sky Brewing Co. Amphitheater, or the Adams Center.

Chris Autio's handcolored photographs

(Gallery 709 at Montana Art and Framing)

Autio, another well-established artist, shoots in a traditional style: medium-format black and white, often of landscapes, and mostly in Montana. For this show, he made large-scale prints and used a select amount hand coloring, often in unrealistic tints, to add a hint of Pop Art or unreality.

The reception runs from 5-9 p.m. on First Friday. The show's up through Jan. 31 at the gallery, located at 709 Ronan St.

Full listings


Bigfork Art & Cultural Center, 525 Electric Ave., 406-837-6927,  

Stephen Glueckert

Stephen Gleuckert's Thomas Francis Meagher exhibition at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula.

Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, 258-3479: Featured exhibits: "The Road to Today: 250 Years of Missoula's History," "No Enemy Movement Observed: The Vietnam War Through the the Eyes of a Frenchtown Marine."  "The Odyssey of Montana's Thomas Francis Meagher" by Stephen Glueckert.   

Hockaday Museum of Art, 302 Second Ave. E., Kalispell, 406-755-5268, Through Jan. 4: "Gateway to Glacier" by Mary Edna Fraser, Sperry Chalet resident artist in 2015. Jan. 16-Feb. 29, "Children's Art Exhibition: So Many Patterns." Opening reception Jan. 16, 5-7 p.m. 

Miracle of America Museum, 36094 Memory Lane, 406-883-6804, Featuring thousands of artifacts throughout dozens of buildings. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

Rick Bartow

"Creation of Crow" (2014)

Missoula Art Museum, 335 N. Pattee St., 406-728-0447, First Friday, Jan. 3, 5-8 p.m. featuring the Feb. 1 auction exhibition items. Plus: Through Feb. 15: Rick Bartow, "Things You Know But Cannot Explain." Through Feb. 22: Lillian Pitt, "Honoring My Ancestors."  

Montana Museum of Art & Culture, Meloy and Paxson galleries, PAR/TV Center, University of Montana, 243-2019, "Manus Festus: Selected Prints from the Meri Jaye Collection" through Jan. 4. Hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, 12-3 p.m.; Thursday, Friday: 12-6 p.m.

Museum of the Plains Indian, 19 Museum Loop Road, Browning, 406-338-2230.

Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana, 69316 Highway 93, Charlo, 644-3435,  


4 Ravens Gallery, 248 N. Higgins Ave., 406-317-1543, In January: "Music in Missoula Through the Camera," collection of images from the last five years of concerts in the Missoula area by photographer William Munoz. 

Amity Parks

A detail of a work by Amity Parks from her family's exhibition at the Artists' Shop.

Artists’ Shop, 127 N. Higgins Ave., 406-543-6393, Through January: "Runs in the Family," mixed media by the Parks family of Missoula. Artist's reception, Jan. 3, 5-8 p.m. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday-Sunday.

Dana Gallery, 246 N. Higgins Ave., 721-3154: First Friday, Jan. 3, 5-8 p.m. featuring new works by Deborah Harrington, Robert Schlegel and Jeff Walker. 

Frame of Mind, 1706 Brooks St., 406-549-8589, Frame of Mind is home for the artwork of Monte Dolack and Mary Beth Percival. Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Chris Autio

Missoula photographer Chris Autio is showing handcolored photographs at Gallery 709 at Montana Art and Framing in January. (Above: a detail of "Cottonwood Road.")

Gallery 709 in Montana Art and Framing, 709 Ronan St., 406-541-7100, In January: "New Work," large black-and-white photographs of mainly the Montana landscape that are hand-colored with special oil glazes by Chris Autio. First Friday reception, Jan. 3, 5-9 p.m.  

Murphy-Jubb Fine Art, 210 N. Higgins Ave., 406-728-7050, Featuring new watercolor paintings by Kendahl Jan Jubb, acrylics paintings of Missoula by MScott Miller, oil and pastel paintings by Arthur Herring, abstract photography by Steve Michaels and watercolors by James Hoffman. First Friday, Jan. 3. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Ohrmann Museum and Gallery, two miles south of Drummond on Highway 1. Usually open. Featuring paintings, wood, metal and bronze sculptures by Bill Ohrmann and metal sculptures by John Ohrmann.

Radius Gallery, 120 N. Higgins, 541-7070, Jan. 24-Feb. 29: "The Creative Act," works by Rudy Autio. Grand opening reception, Jan. 24, 5-7 p.m. Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Art on view

Bernice's Bakery, 190 S. Third St. W.: In January:  "Wild Places and Spaces," watercolors and prints of wild places by Marmot Snetsinger. 

Bridge Pizza, 600 S. Higgins Ave., 406-542-0002: Jay Rummel’s trilogy of prints, “Lady from Missoula County,” “Road to the Buffalo” and “When First Unto Came to this Country.” Monte Dolack’s original movie posters circa 1973.

Nico Larsen

Nico Larsen is showing work at Butterfly Herbs this month.

Butterfly Herbs, 232 N. Higgins Ave., 406-728-8780: In January: "On Windows and Water," work by Nico Larsen.

City Council Chambers hallway and first and second floors of City Hall: Work by the University of Montana School of Art. Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Clyde Coffee, 610 S. Higgins Ave., 406-540-4481:  First Friday, Jan. 3, 5-7 p.m. featuring the work of several staff members including Elizabeth Taillon, Stella Nall, Grace Kari (grass draws carrots), and Marsupial Pudding. Their work comes in many mediums, felt/fabric, marker drawings, digital art, paintings. 

Lake Missoula Tea Company, 136 E. Broadway: First Friday, Jan. 3, 5-8 p.m. featuring group photography show plus music by Alex Miller. 

Laura Blue Palmer

Missoula painter Laura Blue Palmer and her 9-year-old son Jesse Lewis Sawaya are showing work together in "Underwater: Past and Present" at the new Zootown Arts Community Center gallery for Second Friday.

ZACC, 216 W. Main St., 549-7555, Second Friday Gallery openings, Jan. 10, 5-8 p.m. Featuring "Underwater Past & Present," oil and acrylic paintings of ocean life by Laura Blue Palmer and her 9-year-old son Jesse Lewis Sawaya and work by local painter Ila Bell.     

Jesse Lewis Sawaya

Missoula painter Laura Blue Palmer and her 9-year-old son Jesse Lewis Sawaya are showing work together at the new Zootown Arts Community Center gallery for Second Friday.

Zen Medicine, 210 S. Third St. W., 406-207-2417: First Friday, Jan. 3, 5 p.m. featuring works by Anisso Castro, Josh Fauque, Shandi Anastasia and Delta Nine. 

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